Chris Christie knows how to tell a story. I make not a comment on his politics or his position on the issues, but rather on his masterful use of storytelling to make a point about policy. Communicators well recognize the power of storytelling to market or to advocate, and here Christie is giving us a great example of how to do it.
If you haven't seen the video, you should watch Christie telling the story of his mother's battle with cancer caused by cigarette smoking. What is most effective here is the way in which Christie weaves together three separate elements: lung cancer caused by nicotine addiction, the stigma of drug use, and a pro-life position. By bringing these three elements together in one personal narrative, Chrisite's story packs a punch. No wonder it's been shared more than 3 million times on Facebook and aired repeatedly on cable news.
Imagine how less compelling this story would have been if Christie had just told a simple, linear narrative...about how his mother battled nicotine addiction, lost a battle with lung cancer and how that has made him compassionate toward drug users. Still a story, just not as good.
It's not the story that gets you noticed or makes for powerful, compelling communication. It's how you tell it. Christie has given us an example of how to do that by weaving seemingly separate elements into one narrative and juxtaposing them to make a powerful point.
What do you think makes a compelling, powerful story?
Scott Barker has more than 27 years of experience in public affairs communication. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies, senior level government officials, political leaders and candidates to deliver winning communications campaigns.